Three Recent Arrivals Are Welcome Additions To The Market (Part 3)

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If you find your tablet’s onscreen keyboard awkward to use for more than a short time, consider one of these add-ons:

Apple Wireless Keyboard $70

Apple Wireless Keyboard $70

·         Compatible with: All iPads.

·         What we like: It’s small, weighs 0.7 pounds, has large keys, including some shortcuts, and can be sued with Mac computers.

·         What we don’t like: Buttons aren’t customized for iPad, so some serve no purpose. There’s no stand, or Home or Lock button. It uses two AA cells, which you must replace.

·         Bottom line: Its small size makes it well suited for travelling.

Logitech Tablet Keyboard for Android 3.0+$70

Logitech Tablet Keyboard for Android 3.0+$70

·         Compatible with: tablets running Android 3.0 and above.

·         What we like: It has large keys with tablet control and shortcuts. It doubles as a stand.

·         What we don’t like: At 1.1 pounds (with case), it’s a bit heavy. It uses four AAA cells that you must replace. It lacks Screen Lock and Brightness controls.

·         Bottom line: It’s versatile and compatible with a variety of Android tablets.

Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover $100

Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover $100

·         Compatible with: iPad 2 and later

·         What we like: It weighs 0.7 pounds. As a stand, it’s very stable. There are customized keys for important functions. The built-in battery is rechargeable.

·         What we don’t like: The keys are slightly smaller than on some other models.

·         Bottom line: Even with the stand, it’s lightweight and portable.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 Keyboard Dock $80

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 Keyboard Dock $80

·         Compatible with: 10.1-inch Galaxy Tab

·         What we like: the dock has controls, such as Home, Menu, and Lock Screen, plus app shortcuts. The stand is handy for long periods of typing, and the dock has an additional speaker port.

·         What we don’t like: At 1.3 pounds, it’s a bit heavier than the Galaxy Tab itself. The tablet can be used only in landscape mode.

·         Bottom line: Versatile and easier to use than typing on the screen.

Targus Bluetooth Wireless Keyboard $65

Targus Bluetooth Wireless Keyboard $65

·         Compatible with: iPad, Android, Windows (all versions).

·         What we like: It’s very portable and weighs 0.7 pounds. It has large keys, including a nuber of keys for shortcuts.

·         What we don’t like: It isn’t customized for specific models. There’s no stand or case. It useds two AAA cells tha you have to replace periodically

·         Bottom line: This is a good choice if you’re on a budget and travel often

Zagg Zaggfolio Keyboard case $100

Zagg Zaggfolio Keyboard case $100

·         Compatible with: iPad 3 and later, Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 (different models).

·         What we like: It has large keys and doubles as a protective case and stand. There are tablet-specific keys and shortcuts. The battery is rechargeable

·         What we don’t like: It’s bulky and weighs 1.2 pounds. The models for the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is a very tight fit for that tablet.

·         Bottom line: It’s a lot more versatile than other keyboards.

Two models for the Surface

Microsoft Touch Cover $120 & Microsoft type Cover $130

Microsoft Touch Cover $120 & Microsoft type Cover $130

·         Compatible with: Microsoft Surface RT

·         What we like: Both are thin, can double as a cover, and have full-sized keys and a convenient touchpad. The Touch Cover weighs 0.4 pounds, and the Type Cover weighs 0.5 pounds.

·         What we don’t like: The tablet can be used only in landscape mode. The Touch Cover’s flat surface can take some getting used to, but the Type Cover’s keys move when you press them

·         Bottom line: Both are well suited to traveling.

Do you need an accident-protection plan? Probably not

In a recent survey of readers who bought a new tablet since 2010, almost one in five bought a service contract or extended warranty for the device. The figure was about one in four for those who bought iPads.

The leading reason by far for getting a plan cited by 59 percent of buyers was to cover accidental damage. But like most extended warranties, a protection plan for a tablet isn’t really a good buy, our data suggest.

For example, only 4 percent of the 7,217 tablet owners on the survey, conducted by the Consumer Reports National Research Center, had repaired their tablet for any reason. And the vast majority of these tablets had been repaired within their first year, when many might well have been covered by the manufacturer’s warranty or the free insurance provided by some credit cards.

 Though it’s true that manufacturer warranties don’t cover accidents, fewer than half of the repairs in the survey were made for that reason. And only 8 percent of those who bought a warranty had used it for a repair.

Plans don’t’ come cheap, either. The median price respondents paid for AppleCare, Apple’s extended plan for iPads, was $82 and for non-iPad tablets, $61. AppleCare also has a $49 per-incident charge for repairs due to an accident. And should your iPad be damaged, you won’t’ necessarily get a brand-new replacement. Plan terms allow for repairs to be made to your unit or for ti to be replaced with a refurbished unit.

If you must buy a plan to cover accidents, try to pay as little as possible. For an iPad, consider accidental coverage that’s cheaper than AppleCare, such as the $28, two-year accidental plan sold at Wal-Mart.


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